Dave Chappelle refuses to allow Hollywood Bowl attack to overshadow 'historic moment'

4 May 2022, 08:00 | Updated: 5 May 2022, 05:50

By Sophie Barnett

Dave Chappelle is refusing to allow an attack on him at the Hollywood Bowl overshadow "the magic of the historic moment" after setting record-breaking sales for a comedian at the venue, a spokesperson has said.

Mr Chappelle was performing in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening as part of the Netflix Is A Joke festival when he was attacked live on stage, according to videos shared on social media.

A 23-year-old man, named as Isaiah Lee, has since been charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

A statement by Carla Sims, a spokesperson for Mr Chappelle, said: "Dave Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, setting record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl.

"This run ties Chappelle with Monty Python for the most headlined shows by any comedian at the Hollywood Bowl, reaching 70,000 fans of diverse backgrounds during the first Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival, and he refuses to allow last night's incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment."

She added that as "unfortunate and unsettling" as the incident was, Chappelle carried on with the show by introducing the last musical guests for the evening, hip hop duo Black Star.

The statement also noted that Chappelle is "fully co-operating with the active police investigation into this incident".

Brianna Sacks, a reporter at the show, said just as the event was ending "a man charged and tackled" the comedian.

She said security "rushed and started punching and kicking the s*** out of Chappelle's attacker".

"The incident that occurred at the Hollywood Bowl on May 3 2022 is an active investigation and we are unable to comment further at this time," a spokeswoman for the Hollywood Bowl said.

Law enforcement officers reportedly told TMZ the attacker "pointed a gun" at Chapelle as he rushed towards him on stage.

It is understood the gun was not real, it was a replica of a semi-automatic.

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Videos show Dave Chappelle being attacked on stage.
Videos show Dave Chappelle being attacked on stage. Picture: Sean Azari / Rebhorn

In a clip from the audience shared on social media, Chappelle appeared to joke "it was a trans man" after being attacked.

Los Angeles-based journalist Sharon Carpenter, who attended the show, said an attacker "lunged" at the comedian as he closed the evening, sending him "flying in the air".

She said: "It looked like someone was dashing across the stage from the side. It was a little hard to see because people were standing up at that point and leaving. But it looked like someone dashed from the side of the stage, lunged at Dave, and all I saw was Dave basically flying in the air.

"He fell backwards on to his back, with his arms and legs up in the air. He was obviously in shock. We were all in shock. And I thought for a moment 'OK, is this a prank?' because they had made some Will Smith jokes. Even though Chris Rock was there, Dave was making some jokes, it was fair game, right? He was making some jokes about the situation."

Jimmy Carr shared a selfie taken with the fellow comedian and described his Los Angeles show as "crazy".

He tweeted: "The Hollywood Bowl show with the legendary Dave Chappelle was crazy. Just happy everyone's ok."

The controversial comic has faced recent criticism over his jokes about the transgender community.

Dave Chappelle attends the Opening Night Party presented by NETFLIX IS A JOKE
Dave Chappelle attends the Opening Night Party presented by NETFLIX IS A JOKE. Picture: Getty

Netflix workers staged a walkout in October in protest of his new comedy special, The Closer, in which the comedian has been accused of making transphobic jokes.

The comedian said "gender is a fact" and shared his backing for JK Rowling, who has also attracted criticism for her remarks about the concept of biological sex.

Chappelle has expressed transphobic opinions in the past, like in 2016 when he said he didn’t want “a woman with a dick” using the urinal next to him in the bathroom.

He also defended ex-US President Donald Trump’s ban on allowing transgender people into the military.

The attack follows Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars over a joke the comic made about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

It prompted members of the comedy community, including Jack Whitehall and Kathy Griffin, to voice their fears that performers are no longer safe on stage.